I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my two daughters 40 years ago telling them, “This is a very special day.” It was Jan. 20, and we were watching the inauguration of the president of the United States. I emphasized it was a special day because we were one of the few countries to have a peaceful, orderly and respectful passage of presidential power.

The girls, now grown women, wonder, “What happened to that democratic process?”

Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine a narcissistic, serial-lying demagogue refusing to relinquish presidential power. Trump has taken a timeout from playing golf and ignoring the pandemic to motivate 140 members of the House and 12 senators to contest the election that he lost, stoking insurrection and the far right to arm up and protest on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Harvard professors Levitsky and Ziblatt spent 20 years studying the death of democracies in Europe and Latin America and published “How Democracies Die” in 2018. They note that democracy no longer dies with a revolution or coup, but with the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, the judiciary, the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms.

Trump's behavior, with the support of many Republicans, is the biggest threat to our democracy since World War II.

Chuck Wood


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